Hotel management is a good mix of day-to-day business activities and customer service. Find out what else attracts people to this in-demand role and discover top tips for entering the industry
1. Early responsibility
Fast growth, on the job training and career development opportunities are excellent reasons to consider a career in hotel management.
Hotel managers are responsible for each and every aspect of the hotel that they work for, from front-of-house departments such as reception and concierge services to housekeeping, maintenance and catering. Behind the scenes responsibilities include hiring staff, managing budgets, taking care of public relations and setting sales targets.
Sascha Koehler, area general manager at Hilton advises, 'Be confident in yourself. Know that you have the power to inspire your team and build trust with your hotel guests. Be ready to work as part of a team and embrace the concept of a flat structure. Chipping in when it gets busy will get you through all different types of crises.'
'Most importantly, be open to the idea that you can always learn more and surround yourself and your team with the right people to do this,' adds Sascha.
'Hospitality is one of the few sectors where you can take early responsibility and achieve a management position at a relatively young age,' says Gaurav Chawla, senior lecturer in hotel and hospitality management at the University of South Wales.
2. Salary potential
Traditionally salaries within the hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors are lower than those in other industries. However, there are still certain roles in these sectors that can prove financially lucrative.
Starting salaries for hotel managers are in the region of £20,000 to £40,000 depending on the location and size of the hotel. In London, general managers earn, on average, £85,000 with a range of £50,000 to £200,000 for the largest, most prestigious hotels.
Continually welcoming new guests to the hotel means each day is filled with different challenges and requests which keeps your working day interesting.
Opportunities within hotel management are endless and to make the most of them you'll need to be flexible. You could work for an independent or chain hotel, become a general manager or manage specific departments, and work in a variety of locations such as big cities or coastal areas. You'll get to tackle new challenges every day and meet and make connections with people from all over the world. If you're after a standard Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm job, hotel management probably isn't for you.
4. Job satisfaction
As a hotel manager your job is about people and you therefore need to be a people person. Your aim is to ensure that every guest's stay is as pleasant and enjoyable as possible and that the highest standards of customer service are met. In short it's your job to make people happy.
Knowing that this has been successfully achieved through positive feedback and good reviews will bring you a great sense of job satisfaction and will spur you on to achieve even better results.
5. Creative input
In order to thrive and grow the hospitality and tourism industries need creative people. To succeed as a hotel manager you'll need to be able to come up with and implement new ideas on a regular basis, such as themed afternoon teas or guided tours in order to improve the service that you provide.
'Each guest is different and so are their needs. In this role you are always creating a product, be this a new recipe for the restaurant, innovative cocktail for the bar or the overall guest experience. There is always scope to be inventive,' says Gaurav.
It often takes hard work to get new initiatives off the ground but since guest experience is a major part of a hotels success, employers are generally open to creative suggestions, especially if they will enhance or improve the organisation's reputation.
6. The chance to travel
Hospitality, travel and tourism opportunities, including jobs in hotel management, exist in countries all over the world. If you work as a manager for a large chain hotel you'll have the chance to travel not only locally and nationally, but also internationally.
'The industry is truly global,' agrees Gaurav. 'It offers the opportunity to travel to (and work in) some of the most exotic locations on the planet.'
How to get a hotel management job
One of the quickest routes to a job in hotel management is through an undergraduate degree. One example is the BA in Hotel and Hospitality Management at the University of South Wales.
'The course helps to provide students with a well-rounded learning experience, while highlighting various dimensions of hospitality management,' explains Gaurav. 'The programme is vocational, reflecting the nature of the hospitality sector and therefore students are required to spend a significant amount of time gaining practical experience in the workplace.
'The programme develops transferable skills that are in demand, not only in the hospitality industry but also more widely in the service sector.'
Another route is to join a graduate scheme which is a great way to experience all areas of the business on the way to becoming a hotel manager. Sascha took this route and joined the fast track Elevator scheme with Hilton, a graduate scheme for ambitious university-leavers who want to get ahead in the industry.
‘The scheme prepares ambitious graduates to take on a general manager position within five to eight years of completion through a series of rotations within different parts of the business,’ he explains. ‘As part of this, I made my way through the business and tried out different areas. Over the years, I gained experience in both the operational (e.g. food & beverage and front office) and commercial (e.g. conference & events sales and business development) sides of the industry,’ added Sascha.
Although an undergraduate degree is the minimum requirement for a graduate scheme, Hilton offers a number of career opportunities for those looking to enter the industry with varying levels of experience from apprenticeships for school-leavers, to internships while at university.
While a Masters isn't usually a requirement for the job, it could help you stand out to employers in this competitive area. A postgraduate qualification in hotel management may also prove useful to those with an unrelated first degree. Search for postgraduate courses in hotel management.
Alternatively, if you don't have any relevant qualifications you can start at the bottom and work your way up. In large hotel chains it isn't unheard of for porters and front-of-house reception staff to climb the ladder to become hotel managers, but this can take a considerable amount of time and training.
Apprenticeships are also available. This Level 4, higher apprenticeship provides you with nationally-recognised qualifications and skills and can lead to a career as a deputy general manager, front office manager, operations manager or unit manager. Find out more about apprenticeships.
Find out more
- Discover what you can do with a degree in hospitality management.
- Gain an insight into the hospitality industry.
- Learn more about travel and tourism courses.